The 2020 ALA/AASL election season is coming up quickly! AASL is continuing the practice of using the KQ website as a venue for you to learn more about each candidate. Those standing for election were asked to provide a short video introducing themselves. In addition they were asked to respond to this prompt: Select one of the four objectives under the Leadership Activation goal (http://www.ala.org/aasl/govern/strategic-plan) in AASL’s strategic plan, and speak to your role in meeting that objective.
As you read the candidates’ responses, remember that these positions reflect those approved in the recent by-laws election. Consider the future of your professional school library organization as you vote. Mark your calendar to cast your vote beginning March 9. Remember to invite your colleagues to vote as well. AASL Past President Steven Yates said it best last year, “School librarians are a critical part of the American library ecosystem and voting in our association election is a clear way to demonstrate our voice, our power, and our fervent desire for the strongest future for school libraries!”
The candidates for President-Elect are:
- Jennisen Lucas
- Phoebe B. Warmack
Statements and/or videos were a voluntary option offered to all candidates.
No organization can exist without active member participation. For members to feel comfortable participating, the organization has to ensure that each member feels valued for what they can bring to the table and that the organization will be respectful of their already full schedule of commitments. We all have been in situations where it feels that the more we get involved, the more is asked of us. We have also all been in situations in which we want to get more involved, but we aren’t sure if we can squeeze one more commitment into our lives. Many of our members may be like myself several years ago, when I was sure being involved in my state organization or AASL was going to require way more time than I had available to give. It was difficult to make decisions without knowing.
If elected as president-elect, I would like to work on building leadership capacity in our membership by taking a look at our existing participation models and see if we can make them more clear to our membership. Perhaps we can add time commitments to our committee charges and identify which are virtual and which require in-person meetings. If we want to increase leadership capacity within our membership, we need to figure out how to meet our member leaders where they are and tap into what they are able to do, with respect to their other personal and professional commitments. I believe we must find a way to activate our members to feel more involved in different ways, including voting, and I believe increasing AASL’s transparency regarding participation models will help. Please help AASL with this work by exercising your membership right to vote in our elections in March. I would appreciate your vote.
Phoebe B. Warmack
What an exciting time to be a school librarian! Education is shifting daily and librarians are rising as leaders to help communities engage with this transforming landscape. As classrooms move to active discussion and project-based learning what is needed from librarians is evolving, significantly integrating us into the academic program.
We refine services to meet these needs; with Shared Foundations we implement new instructional techniques and materials, supporting a diversity of perspectives shaped by our communities. We are reimagining instruction, programming, and facilities.
Our time is now. We must collaborate, building and sharing evidence-informed research regarding how we prepare students for college, career, life, and the public libraries they will use to enhance those lives. Linking our narrative with data is paramount to communicating the success of our profession, and the new AASL strategic plan.
One goal of the plan is leadership activation, with a supporting objective to refine existing participation models. As we reimagine our services to meet the needs of our communities; participation models for leadership within AASL must be reimagined to meet our needs.
Participation opportunities must be:
- Respectful that librarians are both heirs and trailblazers
AASL must ask:
- What role(s) do you play in your school?
- Who knows this?
- How do they know?
The answers will help us determine where participation models should be refined and what participation opportunities AASL should look like. Reimagined models will then be designed to embolden members to become advocates for ourselves and our programs, shape educational policy, and champion the school librarian’s integral role in teaching and learning.
It would be my privilege to begin this work. You and your voice are valuable to the field of school librarianship. Please vote Warmack, so I may amplify your voice.
Our time is now!
Author: Kathryn Roots Lewis